If your baby seems fussier, a little more prone to drooling and a lot more likely to chew on things than usual, she may be teething. The teething process starts for babies anywhere from 3 to 12 months old, and it causes sore, tender gums for your little one. Many foods can help ease your baby's discomfort, but you know your child's diet better than anyone, so make sure you keep teething foods age-appropriate.
Keep It Cool
Regardless of the type of food you give your baby to help her through the teething process, keeping the food chilly helps ease gum pain. Before you give your baby something to eat or chew on, chill it until it is cool to the touch. Avoid freezing teething aids, however, as extreme cold can harm your little one's gums -- chill teething aids of both the edible and inedible sort in the refrigerator instead.
If your teething baby eats solid foods, try giving her a chilled and peeled fruit or vegetable that is safe to gnaw on without choking, such as a large, whole, firm carrot or cucumber. Chilled teething biscuits can also help, depending on your baby's comfort and safety level with harder, solid foods. If you give your baby chilled solids, watch her while she chews; chunks of food broken off by gnawing may put your child at risk of choking if she's not under careful supervision.
If your baby eats soft foods, chill them before feeding to help alleviate teething pain. Chilled yogurt, mashed bananas, applesauce and other fruit purees and fruit slushes all do the trick here. Although washcloths aren't edible, wrapping an ice cube in a clean wash cloth and gently rubbing your baby's gums for a few minutes helps soothe the pain -- avoid using unwrapped ice cubes, though, as they may be too cold.
Things to Consider
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen pain relievers and homeopathic teething tablets can also help ease gum pain, but avoid products with benzocaine as it may, in rare cases, cause blood-related health complications in babies. Consult your doctor before giving your child pain relievers, even of the over-the-counter variety. Avoid rubbing brandy, whiskey or any other sort of alcohol on your baby's gums; speaking to CNN, Dr. Jennifer Shu of the Children's Medical Group reminds parents that no amount of alcohol is safe for infants.